|Philip Gibson: 15 years of full-time service to civics education|
|Written by ACM|
|Wednesday, 18 July 2012|
Most supporters of ACM are aware of Philip Gibson’s unwavering dedication to ACM as a full-time volunteer.
Philip’s considerable contribution to the republic debate has helped ensure that Australians are better informed about their system of government – and in a far better position to take decisions about its future.
To celebrate what Philip has achieved during his most fruitful time at ACM, The Hon. Lloyd Waddy AM RFD QC recently addressed a special farewell function in the Theatrette at NSW Parliament House. A testament to Philip, the function was a sell-out.
Among those present were Members and former Members of Parliament and the Judiciary.
Addressing those present, Mr. Waddy noted, "It is a great honour to be accorded the opportunity to speak today in praise of Philip Langford Gibson. Few have given longer or more selfless service to ACM - “Australians For Constitutional Monarchy” - the cause we all hold dear, and no one has given more of his energy, and indeed of his substance, than the man we honour this morning."
"It has been our policy from day one: charge nothing for anyone to join, and then let people’s love of our endeavoursinspire their generosity. And so it has been with Philip: ACM is truly where Philip’s heart is, and, as in the Bible, where his heart has been, so has his treasure been also." he added.
"This morning Philip leaves us with three challenges that endure:
And in this noble endeavour, we shall have before us an example to follow for which we can ever give thanks and praise: the remarkable dedication, life, work, sacrifice and generosity of Philip Langford Gibson" he concluded.
The full text of Lloyd Waddy's speech can be seen by clicking "Read more..." below.
PHILIP LANGFORD GIBSON: THE MAN OF THE MOMENT
It is a great honour to be accorded the opportunity to speak today in praise of Philip Langford Gibson. Few have given longer or more selfless service to ACM - “Australians For Constitutional Monarchy” - the cause we all hold dear, and no one has given more of his energy, and indeed of his substance, than the man we honour this morning.
Since we met, when he joined ACM on 22 July 1993- some 19years ago,Philip has made his support for ourConstitution, our Constitutional Monarchy, and our Flag, his life. One could almost say that it has consumed him.
But before I detail his exceptional public-spirited and charitable services, I would like to tell you a little of the man himself.
Philip was born last century on 7 April 1928. He is thus this year some 84 years wiser.
His choice of father was much more practical. Mr L A Gibsonwas a former grazier and tea merchant: (how many this morning remember,as I do, Gibson’s Tea?) When Philip, ever his own man, declined to join it in 1945, Gibson’s Tea was sold to Bushells.
Philip, aged 17,chose to become a jackeroo. By then he hadmoved from Cranbrook and spent the war years as a scholar at The King’s School, Parramatta. He was to prove one of our best. You will not be surprised to learn, I guess, that there he won the Buckland Cup as the School’s Open Champion Boxer, and also represented the School in first grade school Rugby. (Both of which activities were very good training to take on Mr Turnbull and his Republicans!!!)
Our friend’sfirst years as a jackaroo were spent firstly at Coolah, then at Young and Dunbar Stations, Mitchell River, North Queensland.
With a good grasp of the rural world, Philip moved to Keith in South Australia where he joined Hugh Robinson and Co becominga Pastoral Consultant and Manager. Later he was made a partner.
Then, using his actuarial skills, Philip formed his own company, Philip Gibson Pty Ltd, acting for industry leaders,(he called them Pitt Street Farmers- even in SA!), developing their properties for them in Keith SA. From Keith his company spread to Gympie in Queensland, then Darwin in the Northern Territory. Meanwhile during his 15 years in Keith he owned local farming and grazing properties. In Darwin his company sold over 70 NT cattle properties.
Then his company expanded into Jakarta and the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu). Amongst many smaller projects he also established two major cattle projects in Timor and Sumatra, and exported cattle and a portable abattoir to Indonesia.
Returning to Australia, with the owner/inventor of Dynamic Lifter Fertiliser, Philip built the DL Factory at Kootingal near Tamworth. He was closely involved in the promotion of Dynamic Lifter throughout Australia, then in the Emirates and then in Taiwan. In all, he arranged sales of over 2,000 tonnes. With all those sales, no wonder he was so good at selling the Monarchy!!! (But although HMQ is Dynamic, I don’t see her as a lifter!). In addition, Philip travelled extensively through out USA, Europe and Japan helping the inventor sell his intellectual property in Dynamic Lifter.
This then was the man who flew off the handle when Prime Minister Keating announced his aims for an Australian Republic. Philip enrolled as a part-time volunteer with ACM.
But as Philip never does anything part-time he soon became a full time volunteer! He won’t tell you but he also became a very generous donor.
Since his return full-time to our fold Philip has worked tirelessly, almost every working day (and attacking his friends and acquaintances at other times) for ACM, civics education, and the flag.
As to the flag, Philip worked so hard that he was awarded an ANFA Certificate, which was presented to him by John Vaughn, on 1 December 1998.
ACM had already moved to Pitt Street when Philip arrived in 1993 and, under Kerry Jones’ inspired management, joined volunteer groups stuffing envelopes. He was soon one of our angelic band of rusted-on supporters. (I should add that many had lost the rust colours in their hair!) Having won the ACM “Volunteer of the Year” awards five times, in 2001, 2005, -6, -7 and 8, he requested he be no longer eligible!
A great number of our Volunteers have been very generous to ACM. Philip, however,has been different to nearly everybody else in one major respect. He won’t let me give you a figure out of respect for others, but his donations to ACM since he arrived have exceeded a multi-figure sum. Modestly, he says that others have given more, but he has accompanied his largesse with a level of personal labouras well that has been of the highestregularity and calibre, in addition to his amazing generosity.
It has been our policy from day one: charge nothing for anyone to join, and then let people’s love of our endeavoursinspire their generosity. And so it has been with Philip: ACM is truly where Philip’s heart is, and, as in the Bible, where his heart has been, so has his treasure been also.
As the federal referendum on the republic approached,Philip was invited to use one of ACM’s new offices in Kent Street and hewentthere every working day. Also,on many, if not most, weekends he has pushed the ACMmessage as well. How has Ann coped with the family disruption?
Add to this Philip’s provision to ACM of a part-time typist (he doesn’t type!) and spread all that over nineteen years: YES!NINETEEN YEARS!Philip has truly earned the undying gratitude of all of us at ACM, as well he might!
But it doesn’t stop there. Philip has been obsessed with keeping ACM in sufficient funds to continue its work. He has raised funds for the upgrade of our IT systems, and what a triumph the ACM Website has become with millions opening it every year.
Even Coffee addicts aren’t safe, and his imaginative campaign for donors to give the price of “Two Cappuccinos a Year” has resulted in average donations at $14 pa. This imaginative campaign has raised up to $36,000 a year and has been essential to the running of ACM.
As to a few little skirmishes of his own devising, Philip’s first pamphlet was one that fitted into a DL envelope for mail-box letter drops: “REASONS TO VOTE NO” and on the back Philip’s second message: “MORE REASONS TO VOTE NO”! Typically he funded the first few thousand and then sold them at $2 per hundred. The demand grew Australia-wide, until 1.3million had been packed off to all six states for distribution to the public! Few have had such a wide readership as Philip.
And for heaven’s sake don’t mention the words “Head of State” in front of Philip if we want to get home tonight! It was the name of his first Paper and was followed by his other Papers such as: “Australia is Independent”; “Eight Questions for the Republican Movement”; “Twenty-Four Top Republicans Opposed to Direct Election of the President”; “Thirteen Top Republicans against Codification of Presidential Powers”; “RWM- Republicans Without a Model”; “ A United Nations Report”; and “Plebiscites”. And be warned: there are others to follow!
Inspired by that great encourager and inspiration, the late Father Jeremy Flynn, another fantastically generous benefactor of ACM (as indeed has been the entire Flynn Family, especially Christopher and Pauline and their son Thomas, both in substance and also in prodigious labour), Philip fully appreciated the need for Civics education for the Australian people.
In the mid -1990s I had a friendly conversation with Malcolm Turnbull, then leading the Republicans.He and I agreed that we were each having to teach the public about our Australian Constitution before he tried to get people to change it and I tried to persuade people to keep it as it is. And we both had to pay Tax on every dollar we collected that wasn’t spent each financial year!
Malcolm and I even had a joint press conference demanding the Government live up to its obligations and responsibilities. Prime Minister Keating went ballistic (mainly at Malcolm!) and did nothing. I came back to ACM and,with Kerry Jones’ blessing,founded ourConstitutional Education Fund,originally wholly underwritten by ACM supporters.
Later in 2004, Kerry separated the fund from ACM support and added the word “Australia” to achieve its present name of CEF-A: “Constitutional Educational Fund- Australia”. Under the patronage of the Governor General she has included monarchists and republicans on the board, to educate the community about our glorious constitution and our democracy. It is a very worthy service to the community and relieves ACM (and the ARM!) of that part of our tasks, of explaining the Constitution and democracy to the public, and it remains Tax-Deductible.
Philip of course was a very generous Foundation Donor to CEF-A in 2004. Until March 2006, he was the Fund-Raising Co-ordinator for CEF-A. He became the third largest donor to CEF-A and,on 1 Oct 2008, at Government House, received a special award from Her Excellency the Governor of NSW, Professor Marie Bashir.
Philip was also a great warrior when Victorian federal politician Lindsay Tanner made totally false and scurrilous allegations about CEF-A being a monarchist frontand having funding irregularities. These false accusations were totally disproved in a subsequent six-month enquiry. Both ACM and CEF-A were totally exonerated. Philip was a tower of strength.
However the bru-ha-ha led to the total physical separation of the two bodies, ACM and CEF-A, into different locations.But Philip of course retained his boxing instincts, and a non-partisan fund was too restrictive for him. He saw the greater need as ACM, and, in 2006 he left CEF-A, with regret, to became a full-time volunteer and donor to ACM, a member of its National Council, and to push civics education from our ACM angle, stressing the benefits of our Constitutional Monarchy.He and David Flint, the magnificent unsung hero of the preservation of the Australian Constitutioncampaign from the early days, worked full time together on ACM, then move to Bathurst Street.
Philip remains absolutely fearless as to whom he takes on about the Monarchy, even engineering a bet with one well-known republican and then, when the republican lost the bet, cajoling him into contributing cash to ACM’s coffers!
And as our splendid ACM luncheons are run at cost, you will all be familiar with Philip’s towering frame looming over you,flourishing raffle tickets: he really could tender for the new casino at Barrangarroo, and give Mr Packer a run for his money!
Philip has been motivated inhis endeavours because he has been a daily witness to theexcellence the extraordinary labours of David and of our Executive Directors Tony, Kerry,Thomas and Jai. And Philip’s assessment of the continuing financial needs of ACM is realistic. His fears for its continuance are not groundless. Action incurs inevitable costs.
The ACM website has disclosed that our rival, the ARM, has recently been granted $100,000 for each of three years so that it can secure a full-time CEO. It has appointed Mr David Morris. But, as Philip has been quick to point out, Mr Morris avoids the central problem of adopting arealistic model for a republic, saying, “One has to come from The People!” What a cop-out!!Obviously hemust think that there are many unknown constitutional lawyers hiding amongst The People!!
I cannot detain you as long as I would like, but I do want to give you a flavour of Philip in action. So fasten your seat belts!
I recently re-read Philip’s speech to the ACM 2005 National Conference. WOW!
After dealing with the issue of the Head of State, which Philip gets right and so many others get wrong, he returned to the ACM struggle led by the “711 team”: they were then the three and a half workers at ACM, who worked from “7am to 11pm”-711!
Moreover, apart from several major donors, the average annual donation then was $6! Total staff remuneration was only $117,005.This, I might add, is approximately the same amount that Kerry had sacrificed when she first joined ACM after Tony Abbott recruited her to replace himselfwhen he started his meteoric political career.(Thank heaventhat as soon as the people are allowed to vote, indications are that we will have a convinced Constitutional Monarchist in the Lodge!)
And in 2005 Philip disclosed that Kerry was then one of our top three donors herself. So, too volunteer David Flint pays all his own expenses, including travel. As a tale about travel, when Philip needed to replace his motor vehicle,he forwent a posh new car, purchased a cheaper Corolla, and gave half the anticipated costof a Lexus to ACM, foregoing style for ACM! I bet even HMQ even would be proud of that sacrifice!
And then, having recommended to all members a lifetime of regular giving to ACM, Philip, in his speech, turned to Bequests- a somewhat deadly topic! Even that has not escaped his eagle eye. I will spare you the other 20 minutes of his speech and conclude my own with the orator himself.
Philip has asked me to convey a plea for everyone at ACM, whether we have donated already or not, TO DO THREE THINGS:
I suspect in that Philip also includes us members of the ACM 500 Club, (who give $500 each a year)!
As Philip says, if anyone feels unable to help by writing letters,orby telling people about ACM, then gifts and donations will ensure that ACM can maintain premises, employ our Executive Directors, meet our office expenses and carry on ACM’s noble mission.
And I cannot help but add that Philip’s service andgenerous provisions for ACM have been at the sacrifice of Annie, his longsuffering wife. Even Philip acknowledges that he has denied her installation of the carpets she might otherwise have anticipate a husband wouldreplace after the wear occasioned by thirty years of Philip’s delicate foot-falls! We acknowledge and thank her sincerely for supporting Philip in his memorable and essential Public service with ACM.
In so doing we will all continue to be inspired by this wonderful Patriot, who has not only given handsomely of his substance, but unstintingly of his whole life these last 19 years, to the fine age of 84.He is indeed a greatexemplar and inspiration to us all.
This morning Philip leaves us with three challenges that endure:
And in this noble endeavour, we shall have before us an exampleto follow for which we can ever give thanks and praise: the remarkable dedication, life, work, sacrifice and generosity of Philip Langford Gibson.
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